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February 5, 2011

Crescent Manufacturing Mourns the Passing of Dick Gates

Dick Gates, Crescent's former majority shareholder from 1980 to 2005, passed away February 5, 2011. Dick was a contemporary of President George H. W.Bush in World War II and at Yale University.

Dick's grandfather was Frederick Taylor Gates. Frederick Taylor Gate's autobiography is titled "Chapters in My Life". Frederick was a baptist minister, John D. Rockefeller Sr.'s confidential adviser and a philanthropist. He was from Maine, New York and was born in 1853. The first line of Frederick's autobiography is "Well up the sloping western side of the Valley of the Nanticoke Creek...."

Dick's autobiography from the "Hartford Courant" follows:

Richard Judson Gates formerly of West Hartford died on Saturday, (February 5, 2011) at the age of 90 at the Mclean Health Center after living in that retirement community since 2007, was born April 3, 1920 in Glen Ridge, New Jersey. He grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, graduated from Montclair High School and entered Yale (Class of 1943) with his brother Gordon.

Richard left Yale after completing two years due to a call for military service. He entered the US Army Air Corp., applied for flight training and received his wings and officer's commission 11/10/42 at Foster Field, Texas. Lt. Gates was sent to Bradley Field, CT and then to Republic Field on Long Island, where P-47 fighter planes were being manufactured. Next the entire 352nd fighter group was loaded aboard the "Queen Elizabeth"and headed for Europe and World War II. Upon arrival in Scotland, they went by train to an 8th Air Force Flying Field in East Anglia, England. Richard was assigned to group headquarters and to fly P-47 and P-51 fighter planes with the 485 Fighter Squadron. High altitude bomber escort missions were his primary assignments, of which he completed 42. In addition, he flew low altitude dive bombing and strafing missions during the European invasion. In1945, then Major Gates returned to the USA to finish his degree in industrial administration and engineering at Yale.

After graduation Richard, his brother Franklin and an associate Howard Smith, founded the Smith-Gates Corporation to manufacture wire and cable products (mainly telephone coil cords in 25 colors), and military specialty cables. Later, Smith-Gates acquired Adirondac Wire and Cable and Crescent Manufacturing companies, as part of its plan for growth. Richard and his wife Joanne were interested in philanthropy and so founded the Jodik Foundation to support local non-profit projects throughout the Greater Hartford area. Some 20-plus years after its inception they decided to dissolve the foundation and the final assets were split between two capital projects which were the Bushnell's Belding Theater acoustical system and the construction of the educational-kitchen wing at the Noah Webster House in West Hartford.

He retired from active employment in 1985 to spend more time with his wife Joanne whom he had married in 1946. Together, they had four daughters, followed by seven grandchildren, and three great grandchildren. Richard was a long time member of First Church of Christ in West Hartford Center, where he served on the Board of Ushers and then became First Deacon during the time when John Webster was senior minister. Richard enjoyed skiing (Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire), sailboat racing (North Haven, Maine), tennis, golf and especially classical music(The Hartford Symphony).

In lieu of flowers kindly send a memorial donation to the Mclean Foundation at 75 Great Pond Road, Simsbury, CT 06070. For online condolences please visit www.taylorandmodeen.com.